Saturday, December 3, 2011

Purple Flower

I've hit a rough patch in my treatment for Lyme disease. I don't want to do this anymore. My brain feels like it is underwater. Stringing words together into coherent sentences takes about ten times longer than normal. My head feels like it is in a vice grip, constantly being squeezed. I have flu-like aches worse than any flu imaginable. My hip is on fire and my knee feels like it is being knifed. I feel so stiff all over that I wonder if death got confused and rigor mortis has set in.

I hope with all of my heart that the increase in symptoms and pain means that I am just on the brink of healing. I don't like to write blog posts when I have tears streaming down my face from pain. I don't like writing publicly about the if-I-were-your-dog-you'd-have-me-euthanized kind of days, but the fact is, when you have Lyme disease, you have those kind of days--sometimes more often than you'd like to admit. I've begun the dance that I do best, that all of us do best really--the dance of trying to outrun myself when the going gets tough--anything to avoid facing the pain.

Like a cicada, I want to crawl out of my skin. But, as much as I--as we all--squirm and fight, I know deep down inside of me that it is exactly in these moments of wanting to crawl out of my skin that beautiful things can really begin to bloom. Sometimes you have to learn how to get out of your own way before true healing can begin.

Photo credit for this incredible macro"Fir0002/Flagstaffotos"
Every winter, for as long as I can remember, I would drive down the interstate and get the same gut-wrenching feeling as I looked at the miserable, bare trees whizzing by out the window. They represented all the things that I disliked most about winter--the hard times; the blustery, colorless, cold days with way too little sunlight. A few days ago, though, I was looking at the gloomy, leafless trees when a thought hit me: Those trees--the same ones that gave me a sickening, hopeless feeling year after year--were survivors. Yet, every year, they made it through the long, hard winter--the hard times--and triumphantly burst forth with color to celebrate their survival in the springtime.

I've watched for a few weeks now as my orchid has gotten ready to bloom again for the first time since I bought it earlier this year. Day after day, I've checked it, wondering impatiently if today would be the day that the brand new buds would finally open up. Yesterday, I looked at it and realized that in waiting for it to bloom, I was missing the beauty of the pregnant life in my plant. I was missing the beauty of all the love and care I've given my plant waiting and hoping for it to bloom again. Today, my orchid exploded forth in celebration of survival, rewarding me with the most perfect purple flower.

Writing brings me great healing and, already, in writing this post I've stumbled across an old lesson that I've already relearned and forgotten several times over. In words that I've written once and sadly have absolutely zero memory of writing, "Like a person thrashing to get out of a rip current, my instinct is to run straight back to where I was before I got sick. I want to be the person I used to be, and do the things I used to do again. But I can't. I can't run toward that, because I am on a different journey. Physically, I am weaker than I have ever been in my life. Mentally, I am stronger than I've ever been in my life. So, I'm learning to stop thrashing and step out of the way so my body can do its job." 

"Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself.” Thich Nhat Hanh


  1. Well said my friend! I am right here with you!

  2. Love you friend. Sorry you are having such a rough time right now. Will call you tomorrow. Hang in there. <3

  3. Like Julie said, well said!!! It echos my thoughts and has encouraged me in the stinky place I have found myself this morning. Hugs to will get better Alyson. This too shall pass.

  4. I agree, well said. I am sorry you are having it so rough these days. I hope it means you are killing massive bugs and you are one step closer to having your body and your life back. You are in my thoughts.

    Hugs, hugs, hugs.